Right. First the biggie: Correlation does not equal causation. Just because cellphone plan prices have fallen by half doesn’t mean industry consolidation caused the price declines. Nor does it tell us whether prices would have fallen more if there had been less consolidation. And anyway, consolidation from seven to five, say, is different than going to three or two.

The press is off to a good start with its skepticism of this deal. This one deserves much more of it in the coming weeks and months.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.